Indonesia’s largest airline Lion Air suspended all flights today after passengers failed to comply with government Covid-19 controls.

Lion Air and subsidiaries Batik Air and regional carrier Wings Air resumed flying just five days ago.

In a statement, Lion Air Group said: “Many prospective passengers were unable to carry out air travel because they did not complete the required documents and conditions during the coronavirus pandemic alert period.”

Flights have been suspended “until further notice”. Announcing the decision, Lion Air cited concern for employees’ health.

A spokesman said: “Many passengers could not show the required documents.”

The Indonesian transport ministry has restricted flying to essential travel. It requires passengers to show documents stating they are free of Covid-19 infection, and travellers must also show either a letter from an employer or a document proving a family emergency.

The group said: “Lion Air Group supports government-related prevention efforts through active participation in implementing the health protocols established by the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and Task Force.”

Jakarta-based Lion Air operates to Saudi Arabia, China, Malaysia and Singapore as well as within Indonesia.

The group’s carriers had taken safety measures including blocking middle seats, deep-cleaning aircraft between flights and replacing air filters on aircraft where a passenger was suspected of illness.

It has suspended reservations and said it would refund passengers or rebook them without additional fees.

Indonesians have been required to stay at home for more than two months.

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